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Initial Training Networks (ITN) - Marie Curie Actions

Electricity network - ITN illustration image © European Union - Marie Curie Actions fellowships

Embarking on a research career is not always easy. And yet today’s young researchers are vital to Europe’s future. At Marie Curie Actions, we are well aware of that. So we want to make research careers more attractive to young people. 

Our Initial Training Networks (ITN) offer early-stage researchers the opportunity to improve their research skills, join established research teams and enhance their career prospects.

Who can apply?

Multipartner ITN:
Well, it takes two to tango but three to network.So, at least three participants join together to propose a coherent programme for an ITN. The participants can be universities, research centres or companies (large or small).

Bridging business and academia:
As of 2012, the Marie Curie Actions also offer the possibility to companies and institutions to propose two new formats of PhD training "the European Industrial Doctorates" and the "Innovative Doctoral Programme". The principle is simple, to strengthen the links between academia and industry, and to develop research careers combining scientific excellence with business innovation.

European Industrial Doctorates (EID):
In the case of an EID, only two participants are needed: one academic participant and one participant from the private sector. However, one of the conditions is that the researcher will have to be enrolled in a doctoral programme of the academic participant. The researcher will also spend at least 50 % of his/her time within the private sector.

Innovative Doctoral programmes (IDP):
Single research organisations may sometimes get ITN support. One participant (university or research institution) offers an "innovative" doctoral training i.e. with an international, public-private sector and interdisciplinary dimension. The training can be completed with the participation of associated partners (other universities, research centres, private sectors, etc.)

Which topics can be funded?

Any research field in the humanities or science may qualify for ITN funding – provided that there is an element of mobility across national borders. But there is one exception: research areas covered by the EURATOM Treaty (Nuclear research) cannot be funded.

What does the funding cover?

Your network participants will recruit and employ eligible researchers or host them. You will be providing specialised training modules or other dedicated actions. The application should contain a strong element of transnational networking, aimed at structuring the existing high-quality initial research training capacity throughout EU Member States and Associated Countries.
Involvement of private commercial entities in your network is considered essential. It will help diversify the traditional research training settings and add to the employability of the recruited researchers.
An emphasis on interdisciplinary and newly emerging supra-disciplinary fields will count in your proposal’s favour.
Training should be primarily through research on individual, personalised projects, complemented by substantial training modules in key transferable skills common to all fields. Training topics may include.

  • Management and financing of research projects and programmes
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Means of exploiting research results
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Ethical aspects
  • Communication and societal outreach.

But that list is by no means exhaustive.

ITN funding supports:

  • Recruitment of researchers who are in the first five years of their career for initial training – for instance, they may be studying for a research-level degree (PhD or equivalent) or be doing initial post-doctoral research.
  • Networking activities, outreach activities, workshops or conferences that involve research staff from the participating research establishments and external researchers.

ITNs are for the recruitment of researchers from all over the world. Researchers supported by an ITN are normally required to undertake transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up an appointment.

Successful proposals are funded for up to 4 years. Support provided by the networks to individual researchers may be from3 to 36 months for early stage researchers or up to a maximum of 24 months for experienced researchers.

Who decides?

ITN proposals are selected in an open competition. Selection is through transparent, independent peer review, based on excellence using a series of pre-determined criteria.

How do we apply?

Proposals are submitted in reply to a call for proposals. Calls can be found and proposals submitted through the Participant portal. You can find a list of open Marie Curie Actions calls and useful advice under "Apply now" section of this website.

More sugar, less cancer

Meet our fellows

More sugar, less cancer

Project Cyclon, a Marie Curie Initial Training Networks, is working on the development of a sugar-based anti-cancer drug. Milo Malanga is part of that team.Read full story

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How to apply
Participant Portal – check Marie Curie Actions calls & submit your proposal (electronic submission service).

Open calls